Wheel Pose or Chakrasana may very well be the grand-daddy of all backbends!
This backbend pose is not to be taken lightly. Most yoga students will discover this posture to be quite challenging, it's certainly not for beginner students. As a matter of fact, Wheel Pose must be approached with caution as improper alignment or a lack of the needed strength can result in injury.
Wheel Pose is a part of the finishing sequence in the Ashtanga Primary Series. Because the pose requires a warm and flexible spine, it's normally practiced near the end of class. Wheel Pose should also be practiced with the help of an instructor if the posture is a new addition to your practice.
Urdhva Dhanurasana or Chakrasana is the Sanskrit name for this posture. The breakdown for the Sanskrit name is as follows, "Urdhva" meaning "Upward", "Dhanu" meaning "Bow", "Asana" meaning "Pose" along with "Chakra" meaning "Wheel". Naturally, its very common to hear this pose referred to as Wheel Pose or Upward Bow Pose.
Its easy to be impressed by the many photos of yogis performing very deep versions of this posture. However, its critical to remember that the deepest versions of Chakrasana aren't needed to benefit from the posture. In fact, forcing yourself deep into this pose will usually present dangers.
The benefits of Chakrasana are numerous and include increasing spine flexibility, strengthening the arms, back and legs, plus offering a great chest or heart opening. Once mastered, the posture will also provide a neat change of view and provide a little fun!